PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — President Trump has again nominated Public Defender Mary McElroy for Rhode Island’s vacant federal court judgeship, the White House announced Monday.
McElroy was initially nominated by President Obama in 2015 and renominated by Trump last year. The Senate Judiciary Committee backed her appointment both times, but Republican Senate leaders have never scheduled a final vote to confirm her.
The vacancy was created by the 2015 retirement of Judge Mary Lisi. Rhode Island’s two active federal judges, Chief Judge William Smith and District Judge Jack McConnell, have been covering the court calendar in Providence since Lisi stepped down.
Democratic U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, who have both strongly supported McElroy’s nomination, said in a joint statement: “We are pleased President Trump has renominated Mary McElroy. She deserves to be confirmed on the merits and we’re committed to ensuring she gets an up or down vote by the full Senate.”
Trump’s decision to stick with an Obama judicial pick recommended by the two Democratic senators has frustrated some local Republicans who expected him to nominate a different jurist after he took office. But Reed and Whitehouse have pushed the administration to stick with their choice.
McElroy, who lives in East Greenwich, was appointed public defender by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee in 2012 after many years for both the state and federal public defenders’ offices. She graduated from Suffolk University Schoo of Law and Providence College. Her father, Ed McElroy, was a longtime local labor leader who led the national American Federation of Teachers from 2004 to 2008.